by MARTA MADIGAN
The Four Seasons Resort Orlando has launched a series of multi-course, collaborative dinners that will continue throughout 2015. The inaugural event on March 6 took place by the infinity pool, where courses of “mmmm…so good” rippled throughout the evening. Gerald Sombright, the chef of PB&G (Pool Bar and Grill), together with guest chefs Jenny Cleveland and Ed Heath—a 2015 James Beard Award nominee—rolled up their sleeves to create a six-course dinner inspired by international flavors. The menu mixed Florida ingredients with the Four Seasons’ elegance and some comforting favorites from the Cleveland-Heath restaurant in Edwardsville, IL near St. Louis.
The al fresco dinner kicked off with a spicy black bean hummus and cheese stick amuse-bouche. The first course further awakened the taste buds with a good balance of salty, sour and umami on a crunchy toast generously covered with a melange of avocado, citrus, capers and gravlax (cured salmon). Next came a dark and rich smoked oxtail consommé fortified by a few bright red slices of domestic wagyu beef, the tenderness and look of which would’ve satisfied a a connoisseur of Japanese meat.
A nicely browned slab of pork belly rested on four colorful cubes of watermelon and paper-thin rings of pickled jalapeño, all gently soaking in a Vietnamese vinaigrette (pictured above). Two more meaty offerings—beef tongue with wild mushrooms, and Lake Meadow Naturals-sourced pulled goat with Cuban style black beans—closed the savory food extravaganza.
A palate-cleansing lemon-basil sorbet with drops and lines of refreshing green sauce transitioned everyone to a dolce finale, where Jenny Cleveland’s signature fruit pie was the proverbial and literal cherry on top of this culinary journey. Built of an almond cake layer at the bottom, brandied and tart cherries in the middle and puff pastry on top, it tasted heavenly. Four Seasons pastry chef Rabii Saber added a luxurious touch with a chocolate stick covered in edible gold and propped on a quenelle of vanilla ice cream.
Each of the six courses was paired with either the Old and New Continent’s wines or local beers from Cigar City and Funky Buddha. This event inaugurated a series of guest chef and sommelier dinners that will continue throughout the year. And here is an enticing list of all special culinary events coming soon at Orlando’s Four Seasons Resort:
March 23, 2015 – Gin-spiration
Four Seasons Resort Orlando has teamed up with local distiller St. Augustine Gin to create an evening of creative cocktails and cuisine. Enjoy a four-course dinner by Capa Chef Tim Dacey along with libations by Mixologist Anna Mitchell McElroy.
• Time: 7:30 pm
• Location: Capa
• Price: USD 95 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity
April 18, 2015 – Farmers & Fizz
Join Chef Gerald Sombright of PB&G and Sommelier Jill Davis for a four-course farm-to-table experience featuring Lake Meadow Naturals and wines from the Champagne portfolio of Terry Theise, author of Reading Between the Vines.
• Time: 6:00 pm
• Location: PB&G
• Price: USD 145 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity
May 18, 2015 – Rajat Parr Wine Dinner
Capa is pleased to welcome Rajat Parr, world renowned sommelier, author of Secrets of the Sommeliers and winemaker of Domaine de la Côte and Sandhi Wines, for a five-course dinner by Chef Tim Dacey with wines from Parr’s own projects. Parr is a 2015 James Beard Award nominee on behalf of the Mina Group for Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional.
• Time: 6:30 pm
• Location: Capa
• Price: USD 195 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity
June 25, 2015 – Markham Wine Dinner
Join Bryan DelBondio, President of Markham Wines, for a four-course pairing dinner led by Executive Sous Chef Sam Faggetti.
• Time: 6:30 pm
• Location: Plancha
• Price: USD 125 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity
Space is limited at all of the above special dinners, and advance reservations are required. For reservations, call 407-313-6161.